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tv   Press Here  NBC  May 8, 2011 7:30am-8:00am PDT

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new ways to look at old ideas. a a major consumer products company reinvents advertising on the internet. and a new ipad app reimagines your music. with reporters rich jaruslawski of "bloomberg's business week" and chris forbes, this week on "press here." good morning, i'm scott
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mcgrew. let's get to it with the latest buzz word in silicon valley -- conversational marketing. the oakland-based company clorox makes everything from salad dressing to glad bags to of course, bleach. >> clorox helps keep it clean. even the imaginary parts. >> clorox buys traditional advertising. but this week it tried something new -- conversational marketing. a blog called, daily buzz mom's. it's a website powered by an army of mom bloggers. but occcurated by clorox itself. there are blog entries written by clorox employees, like amanda, talking about composting. or this post, about quote, barfs, coughs and nose boobers by clorox employee, fifny.
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a subject matter that would make anyone want to buy a box of clorox cleaners. the company's ceo, fed rated media. joined by bloomberg business and kim mcnicholas of forbes. let me start with not just clorox, you've done it for lexus and general electric and nbc. general electric is a part owner of this television station, let's get that out of the way. what do companies find valuable in doing this sort of marketing? >> i think the key for companies is to talk to consumers prior to purchase. so there's all kinds of ways to advertise and get convince consumers that this is the right product versus within of their competitors at point of sale. but well prior to that, they want to engage consumers in a conversation about the category or about their area of expertise. >> this is, this is conversation, that is, i was surprised by how vague it was. i was ready to say, well, here,
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you're advertising clorox and the people don't even know it in you're fooling them. that blog has almost nothing to do with clorox. or even cleaning necessarily, cleaning products at all. >> it's all about educating people, right? about the industry. and what's happening in the world. just making them a more educated consumer. >> absolutely. i think they're building a relationship as opposed to trying to fool them to think. they're very transparent. one of the things we practice is this notion of transparency. you have to be authentic to your brand and voice and you have to be authentic. just as you disclosed that you're part-owned by nbc. clorox discloses up front in every conversation with consumers, we're clorox. but we happen to know a lot about cleaning, if we didn't, we wouldn't have the best products out there. >> the clorox message was so subtle as to be not particularly transparent. how does the consumer know they're in that conversation with clorox, as opposed to in that conversation with moms who
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may know something about cleaning? >> right, right. i think the disclosure and transparency comes in the byline and consumers and women are very curious and savvy at this point as to where they're getting their information. so they'll look to see that amanda is an executive at clorox. >> but does it say, brought to you by clorox? where do you -- >> yeah, there is advertisement above and below that says this whole product is being sponsored by and brought to you by hidel valley or clorox bleach, et cetera. >> it is so subtle, by that, not the disclosure -- i don't feel after having read it that i should go out and buy a clorox product. i maybe feel i know something more about cleaning the house. it will benefit johnson & johnson. >> yes. >> or essie johnson wax, or i don't know my cleaning products very well. >> come on, scott. >> it will benefit them as well. because i'm going to walk away saying, we don't keep our kids' toys as clean as we should. >> yeah. >> it's that, so -- >> i think the subtlety is
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providing value or service to the consumer well prior to a purchase decision. because consumers as savvy consumers will ultimately say -- who gave me that advice? who gave me that information? there will be some brand loyalty. there will be some brand lift. i think it's the notion of building a relationship prior to purchase. is so much more important to compliment their advertising. >> what is it that really was the catalyst that made this a reality today that made these types of, this type of content take off? because i was doing this back in 2001, with a company called energy news life. we had a news show that we created that was sponsored by williams corporation. but you wouldn't hear about williams actually in the news show per se. we talk about the energy industry. >> sure. i think the big shift is that the conversations about these brands and these products are happening with or without the brand. right? so people are talking about brands, they're talking about cleaning. they're giving advice, they're sharing advice. they're also complaining about brands, which unfortunately, is
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one of those things that scares brands from entering the conversational space. so if they're talking about brands, shouldn't the brand be present in the conversation? or shouldn't the brand be there to defend themselves when the conversation goes awry? >> how do you handle controversy when those things come up? for example, would, would the site have a discussion of the fat content in hidden valley ranch dressing or something like that? >> yeah. >> is there an obligation to try to broaden out the discussion to make sure that all sides are represented? >> we, what we don't do is we don't control the conversation. we don't edit the conversation. we just include them and participate. so what you'll see in daily buzz moms, the product, is you'll see a lot of fantastic content if all over the independent web. in fact, that's what federated does, is it curates the web for brands, for consumers, both. we'll keep the conversation broad, but naturally bloggers and conversationalists will get to very specific conversations. fat content in salad dressing.
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we say, to clorox, this is going to happen. you need to be prepared for that. and how would you respond. because they have an answer to that question. >> kim, let me jump in before you do and let's talk about the army of mom bloggers. federated says we're going to take a little content from here and take a little content if here and we're going to include a little bit of clorox written content, disclose it and put it in as well. >> yeah. >> how do these women bloggers get, do they get paid? how does, how are they benefitting from you curating other content? >> well, i think the curation platform allows them to be celebrated as the best of in a particular category or day or time. so they love the promotion. they love the idea that their blog entry of today is something that people are talking about. >> it drives clicks to their own site. recognition. and they are federated media affiliates, customers? >> partners. >> thank you. >> what we do on the other days of the week when we're not curating is we sell advertising
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for them. we sell traditional advertising that runs on our site and they benefit, to your point on the clicks from the increased traffic to their site. >> a lot of these blogs, they get maybe 1,000, maybe 2,000 hits a month on some of the ones i've seen. so what value does that hold for the advertiser, if each one of these blogs is only reaching maybe 1,000 people? >> the real benefit for federated, one of the reasons it was founded, it was the notion that bringing impressions or media at scale to brands is what they needed. so they can buy lots of impressions on some of the portals, but how do they get to this world called the independent web, which is a lot of small players. the way to do that in scale is to aggregate them and we call it a federation. >> how do you as federated media, how do you find these people? >> we look for quality of the writing first and foremost. graphics, everything. we look for great media environments. we look for brand safety, you know, are these people you know, available to the notion of taking advertising and what does
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that mean. but lastly, most importantly, is we look for the very social ones. we look for the ones that have the biggest communities, the biggest followers and likes and all the social engagement techniques. and we look for retweets and amplification factor. so the people doing the best job in finding an active and dynamic following is super important to us. >> is this journalism? >> i believe so. it's narrative, it's story-telling and it's objective reporting from the households. >> but it's also commercial speech. >> i think it depends on how you define commercial speech. to me, it's commercial in the fact that it takes advertising. but the reality is, if you read these blogs, they're very true sentiments from the heart. >> a fair analogy be, it's a bit stretched, but "readers digest" you put a clorox ad on the back? >> yes. >> with my great analogy, we'll take a commercial and start with
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more brilliance coming up in just a minute. deanna brown is with federated media. if you come to me, i'm a ceo of a fortune 500 company. you say i want to do to you what we've done for clorox and lexus and ge. how do i know you're doing a good job? how do i know i'm selling any more widgets? >> people can manipulate those page views. >> but it -- hits aside, i don't know that necessarily, i know that x number of people saw a tv commercial or radio commercial, or i can go into my channels and say, yeah, that's where the ad campaign started. i can't do that with you. >> well you can and you can't. you can measure the performance of return on investment vis-a-vis your sales figures, based on where your advertising is and where your marketing is. it's a little more like public relations type measurement. we do brand lift studies for people. we want to feel how consumer
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feel about brands. so there's some measurement that helps. at the same time, it's what we call earned media. as opposed to paid media. so earned media means more people engage with the brand, although albeit differently than an ad. so therefore, that is, we are now a player on the internet in a way we weren't prior to this. >> i'm curious -- in terms of the ad inventory, is there a lot of demand? do you have more demand, you know, in terms of advertisers, versus the numb of bloggers that you have available to advertise on? >> demand is an interesting thing. we, we have demand and we carry premium pricing. but not via scarcity. but more via where the most engaged parties are. >> one of the biggest complaints i've heard from advertisers is that the advent inventory seems to be limited and especially for some of the most popular blog, they can't get in there and advertise on them. >> the inventory at the top of
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the funnel is very scarce. when you get further down, lesser, more fragmented markets, those niche publishers are just new to the blogging, blogosphere, those are discoverable, but hard to buy. so federated media does that. >> where are blogs missing out? when heather armstrong had huge, she's one of your clients. >> yes, she is. had huge success with deuce.com, we saw a lot of mom blogs. some of them were honest, hey, i've just got the time. and others were hey, here's a hot space. let's assume that's filled. what is the next sort of hot subject or where you say, gosh, i wish we are more of these, because we could advertise in that section? nascar dads or -- >> i was going to say -- >> gardening. >> your idea of nascar dads is not a bad one. men's roles in the household are shifting and product companies are like clorox, like procter & gamble are looking to reach men. because they're making household decisions. they've got disposable income
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that they never had and ultimately they're sharing the responsibilities for family decisions with mom. so dads and men, lifestyle products, are just kind of off the chart. we have a lot of demand for that. >> if i'm a corporation, why should i come and spend my social marketing budget with you as opposed to facebook or twitter or somebody else that's in that space? you're going up against some very large competitors? >> there's some formula one competitors out there. i think what's interesting about facebook versus the conversational marketing marketplace is this notion that i get to do more, what we'll call higher up the funnel. what facebook is offering consumers is just primarily or advertisers, is just primarily an advertising unit. very well targeted, big audience. here we give them a chance to talk about their products. talk about their categories. they have tremendous amount of information. it's now making it conversational and it's engaging a consumer prior to purchase. whereas advertising is disrupting, slash push a button, click and buy. >> it's one thing, it's that
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fine line, making sure that if you're talking about, if you're talking about clorox being the advertiser for a particular blog, that whatever that market or whatever the person within clorox whose blogging for you, making sure that maybe they're talking about washing vegetables and eating more vegetables and that kind of thing. versus what to clean with. >> yeah, it is, we do guide brands on being conversational as opposed to being promotional or advertising-oriented. >> don't you think consumers are going to catch on to that now? >> they do. and that's when it becomes ineffectual. consumers will find something very commercial and run from it, right? when i start to watch that happen, we would advise those brands to stop doing that because they're not engaging people. >> when you said earlier, the social marketing budget and the advertising budget, is that how companies are still, they're still splitting those apart? do you like it when they split those apart? because it kind of, same side,
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two sides of the same coin. >>s did, and i don't like it when they split the budgets. but when they do, i can play on either side. i can talk to them about the advantages of social marketing and social media. and i can say, you need to change your definition of advertising. so i will talk to both sides. >> deanna -- brown, is the ceo of federated media publishing. up next, the rise of an unusual new apple app, we'll talk to the inventor of planetary when "press here" continues. welcome back to "press here," in the last few days, >>h about music. and perhaps, about data itself. >> this "smells like teen spirit". >> that's not obvious enough,
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not at all, how about "point of no return." >> very few of us browse through albums any more. the age of digital downloads means we've had to rethink the way we interact with our music. we examine lists or flip virtually through itunes cover flow. but a new app called planetary completely rethinks the way we interact with store music. by placing our tunes in the context of a solar system. ♪ ♪ ♪ i just want to be okay >> the app represents the artist as a star. the album is a planet and the track, as a moon. the idea has caught on by its third day on itunes app store, planetary had topped angry birds on the top ten list. coming in at number three. >> this is the head of bloom studios spent most of the week hitting the refresh on itunes watching the planetary climb the chart. though i must say, it never
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overtook "ben, the talking dog." >> it never did. >> you have worked with all kinds of company, frog design, nokia, sony, phillips, graduate of m.i.t. media lag. but the dog must have made you pretty mad. >> well, especially because it's ben. as am i. i'm up against ben the talking dog. >> you're the first guest we've ever had beaten by a talking dog. >> yeah. >> this is an experiment more than it is a money maker, right? i love it i think it's great fun. eventually i'm going to go back to itunes and do it the way i've always done it. but it's an interesting idea. >> thank you. yeah it's really about what we're looking to do is create a series of applications of which this is the first one that reimagines the way that we engage with data in general. so you know, music happened to be a great place to begin because it was about this connection that people have with their music collection. so you know, starting from there, we can then look at you know, how, what are different ways we can imagine people
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interacting with data about facebook and twitter and various other applications like that. >> but how do you take something like planetary from a novelty, to something that's more sustainable and something that people will use all the time? >> i think it's about a couple of different things. one is that we're, we've moved into a time where people are interacting, you know, almost more and more every day with their tablets and devices that are sort of these more visceral experiences. and so if we can make something that's engaging about discovery, particularly, you know the idea that right now what you're looking at a collection that is your own already. but if we can tap into music streaming services that would love to be part of our experience as well and if we can build handles where you're exploring new galaxies literally of music, you can see what the act difficulty of other people in your social network is in that space, so to speak. >> in the early days there was a distinction between user interface and data visualization. you seem to be sort of melding the two here. >> exactly right.
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many of us involved in bloom studio that makes planetary have been in the sort of data visualization space for a long time. but i think what we're realizing is that you know, as we've left the desk top and the finder behind, which was really ultimately a data visualizations itself, telling you what resources you had access to, we're realizing that rather that being at no ways to look at this type of data -- one of the things that people have trouble with is when they use an ipad, they don't have an idea of where everything is. rather than saying there's a finder that allows you to find all that, there are thousands of them, we can start building those, one after the other, different metaphors to sell up how different information can be accessed. >> the ipad was a nice sort of psychological break. let's not ignore how radical the pc was. i'm going to take my hand and i'm going to point at data, that was kind ever an incredible step forward. but the ipad created that psychological break where now you have this opportunity to reeducate everyone who comes to the ipad and say, we don't have
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to do it this way. >> uh-huh. >> i think part of the reeducation has already begun. and that's in video games, right? a lot of metaphors that we draw from in the things that we build are from the world of gaming and partially because the world of gaming has already done a really great job of teaching people about dynamic complex systems. you know, which is really what we're participating in when we participate in something like facebook or twitter. is just massively parallel data that's always happening. and we really don't have tools that we build in software at the consumer level that engage with that kind of dynamic information, except for games. because games have already, when you play "world of warcraft" or any other multiplatform game, you're participating in a huge, constantly-evolving system and we have their interface is built to tap into that and let you be able to see where all the other people that you're playing with. and what the statistics are. and people have kind of internalized the ability to understand that stuff. if we can start to say look
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those same skills you have there, now apply to this world you live in in real life. i think it's a powerful transition to be able to make. >> how do things like microsoft connect fit into this future where you're dealing with data in a very different way? >> it's fundamentally part of the same type of shift to the visceral. a lot of what we're looking at here is we've gone from these very abstract representations, you know, that are folder icons to things that are much more about i'm situated in a space and i'm participating in a metaphor about how i'm relating to all of these objects in a real embodied way and obviously the connect and this idea of gestural interface, is gestural from a touch perspective on the ipad screen, and also gestural from being in the living room and looking at your entertainment system and saying i want to make these changes. these are the sorts of interfaces that we're excited to be participating in in defining the gestural language. >> it almost reminds me of the, have you ever done an idea tree? you know when you're sit dlg and you branch out on a piece of paper.
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or even when you were younger, when you were learning the alphabet. you would affiliate, associate apple with a. >> visualization. >> exactly. why hasn't it caught on already in the masses? why are we so resistant to this? >> i think part of it really was you know, just the ability for us to render those things dynamically in a way that you know, really again, have the viscerally embodied sense. a lot of times people in computer graphics talk about the uncanny valley when you're trying to render a human face, we still haven't gotten to the point where you can actually thing that you're seeing a human from a computer image. in the same way there are lots of different systems like flocking and swarming and the systems that coming from the natural world that can represent data. but we didn't really have the ability to express them fluidly enough yet for people to really you know, kind of grab on to them and understand them in a real way. >> i think something you touched on earlier. at least what i got out of it
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was that you were doing this mentally. we all do this mentally. we go on to facebook and we in our heads create a tree of this person is related to this person, is related to this person. now computers are actually able to represent it that way. >> uh-huh. >> but even linkedin is doing that they have a map and you can see the degree of separation between you and the contacts around you. >> and then you discover, i know a heck of a lot of people in this subgroup that i had no idea i did until i saw it laid out for me. >> how often have you used it? >> right. it's a cool factor. >> just as the use of planetary. it's a novelty. >> that raises the question, you started with my music and media collection, where do you go from here? >> i think going into social networks and the sort of, the real complexity in there, i think is a real powerful place for us to explore. i mean if you think about facebook the way that you sort of, the default view you have on facebook. when you pull up the facebook page, you have 35 or 40 sort of wall posts that tell you the
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sort of activities of your friends. and by the time you're done reading that page, about 150 things have happened in your social graph out there on the network. and we don't have any way right now of perceiving that at all. >> you experimented on that with fizz, we have about a minute left. this idea that facebook can even be seen, facebook doesn't have to be seen like facebook. >> that's right. i think with fizz and with some of the other experiments we've done, it aimed at different social networks. s u know, the opportunity really for, to understand lots of different facets. i mean it's a huge, a huge system there. there's places and fan pages and things like that. and a lot of people don't really even see into it farther than you know, the last five things that their friends have left as news. so for us to be able to build interfaces that bubble that stuff up in a very dynamic way, you know as a landscape that's constantly changing, that's actually really powerful and i think is something that will have a lot of draw for people to return to. the more information we can pull up so that you can understand
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where you're at in an instant, is i think what's powerful about what we're doing. >> ben surbeni of bloom studios, thank you for being with us this morning. "press here" will be back in just a moment. whether my thanks to my guests thisa & of federated media and ben surbani. this information is available at apple itunes and nbcbayarea.com "press here." thank you for making us part of your sunday morning. .
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